SEATTLE – After leaving Boeing Field as a new airplane 83 years ago, the world’s oldest flyable Boeing twin-engine airliner-the 247D-returned there today for good. The classic plane has belonged to The Museum of Flight since 1966, and is one of only four remaining in the world. It is the last one to fly. Today shortly after noon, the aircraft was taxied into the Museum’s east parking lot after a 15-minute ferry flight from Paine Field in Everett, Wash. Several hundred people greeted the plane, resplendent in the livery worn when it served United Air Lines in the mid-1930s. The aircraft will be placed on permanent display at the Museum.Pilot Mike Carriker and copilot Chad Lundy were greeted as they emerged from the plane by Museum president and CEO Doug King, and Senior Curator, Dan Hagedorn. Hagedorn provided the pilots with a pen and invited them to sign the left-side wheel well-to fulfill an aviation tradition for pilots of a last flight. After the formalities, Museum visitors were allowed look at the 247D up-close for the rest of the day.
Boeing Dreamliner Test Pilot at the Helm
The crew for this special flight were two Boeing test pilots with experience at the controls of the 247, Mike Carriker and Chad Lundy. Carriker was the chief test pilot for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, so on this trip, the world’s oldest Boeing airliner was flown by the pilot of Boeing’s newest airliner.
The Museum’s 247D was made in 1933, and the type is recognized as the first “modern” airliner, offering travelers unmatched speed and comfort with a sturdy, all-metal design. Somewhat a victim of its own success, the design was soon adopted and improved by Douglas Aircraft with the DC-2 and DC-3, which quickly rendered the 247 obsolete. The Museum’s plane had a colorful career with air carriers in the U.S. and Latin America. Restoration of the plane began in 1979, with its first post-restoration flight in 1994. The sleek plane has the livery it flew while serving United Air Lines in the mid-1930s. The 247 will take center stage in front of the Museum throughout the summer, then it will be positioned in the Aviation Pavilion next to its arch rival of the air–the Douglas DC-2.
For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit www.museumofflight.org
Category: Science Technology